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Ave Maria ! 'tis the hour of prayer!
Ave Maria ! 'tis the hour of love! Ave Maria ! may our spirits dare
Look up to thine and to thy Son's above ! Ave Maria ! oh that face so fair !
Those downcast eyes beneath the Almighty dove What though 'tis but a pictured image ?--strikeThat painting is no idol—'tis too like.
Some kinder casuists are pleased to say
In nameless print—that I have no devotion ; But set those persons down with me to pray, And
you shall see who has the properest notion Of getting into heaven the shortest way :
My altars are the mountains and the ocean, Earth, air, stars—all that springs from the great Whole, Who hath produced, and will receive the soul.
Sweet hour of twilight in the solitude
Of the pine forest and the silent shore Which bounds Ravenna's immemorial wood,
Rooted where once the Adrian wave flow'd o'er, To where the last Cæsarean fortress stood,
Evergreen forest! which Boccaccio's lore And Dryden's lay made haunted ground to me, How have I loved the twilight hour and thee!
The shrill cicalas, people of the pine,
Making their summer lives one ceaseless song, Were the sole echoes, save my steed's and mine,
And vesper bells that rose the boughs along :
The spectre huntsman of Onesti's line,
His hell-dogs and their chase, and the fair throng, Which learn’d from this example not to fly From a true lover--shadow'd my mind's eye.
O Hesperus ! thou bringest all good things
Home to the weary, to the hungry cheer,
The welcome stall to the o'erlabour'd steer;
Whate'er our household gods protect of dear, Are gather'd round us by thy look of rest; Thou bring'st the child, too, to the mother's breast.
Soft hour! which wakes the wish and melts the heart
Of those who sail the seas, on the first day When they from their sweet friends are torn apart;
Or fills with love the pilgrim on his way
Seeming to weep the dying day's decay;
When Nero perish'd by the justest doom
Which ever the destroyer yet destroy'd, Amidst the roar of liberated Rome,
Of nations freed, and the world overjoy'd,
Perhaps the weakness of a heart not void
But I'm digressing; what on earth has Nero,
such like sovereign buffoons, To do with the transactions of my hero,
More than such madmen's fellow-man—the moon's ? Sure my invention must be down at zero,
And I grown one of many “wooden spoons"
I feel this tediousness will never do
'Tis being too epic, and I must cut down (In copying) this long canto into two:
They'll never find it out, unless I own The fact, excepting some experienced few;
And then as an improvement ’twill be shown: I'll prove that such the opinion of the critic is, From Aristotle passim.-See IIointikns.
THE DEATH OF HAIDÉE
FROM CANTO IV
Afric is all the sun's, and as her earth
Her human clay is kindled : full of power For good or evil, burning from its birth.
The Moorish blood partakes the planet's hour, And like the soil beneath, it will bring forth :
Beauty and love were Haidée's mother's dower; But her large dark eye show'd deep Passion's force, Though sleeping like a lion near a source.
Her daughter, temper'd with a milder ray,
Like summer clouds all silvery, smooth, and fair, Till slowly charged with thunder, they display
Terror to earth, and tempest to the air, Had held till now her soft and milky way;
But, overwrought with passion and despair, The fire burst forth from her Numidian veins, Even as the Simoom sweeps the blasted plains.
The last sight which she saw was Juan's gore,
And he himself o'ermaster'd, and cut down; His blood was running on the very floor
Where late he trod, her beautiful, her own; Thus much she view'd an instant, and no more
Her struggles ceased with one onvulsive groan; On her sire's arm, which, until now, scarce held Her, writhing, fell she, like a cedar fell’d.
A vein had burst, and her sweet lips' pure dyes
Were dabbled with the deep blood which ran o'er ; And her head droop'd, as when the lily lies
O'ercharged with rain : her summon'd handmaids bore Their lady to her couch, with gushing eyes;
Of herbs and cordials they produced their store,
Days lay she in that state, unchanged, though chill
With nothing livid, still her lips were red : She had no pulse, but death seem'd absent still ;
No hideous sign proclaim'd her surely dead;
Corruption came not, in each mind to kill
All hope ; to look upon her sweet face bred New thoughts of life, for it seem'd full of soulShe had so much, earth could not claim the whole.
The ruling passion, such as marble shows
When exquisitely chisell'd, still lay there, But fix'd as marble's unchanged aspect throws
O'er the fair Venus, but forever fair;
And ever-dying Gladiator's air,
She woke at length, but not as sleepers wake,
Rather the dead, for life seem'd something new, A strange sensation which she must partake
Perforce, since whatsoever met her view Struck not on memory, though a heavy ache
Lay at her heart, whose earliest beat, still true, Brought back the sense of pain without the cause, For, for a while, the furies made a pause.
She look'd on many a face with vacant eye,
On many a token, without knowing what ;
And reck'd not who around her pillow sat :
Relieved her thoughts ; dull silence and quick chat Were tried in vain by those who served ; she gave No sign, save breath, of having left the grave.